The Leadership Cookbook: Make an "Angry" Guest a Fan!

Demanding guests are your best friend.


Before you click off the page, I’m not talking about the customer who’s never happy. I’m talking about that guest that knows your food, beverage, or service quality well enough to know exactly what they want and how they want it. There are lots of reasons knowledgeable guests are your best friend. Two at the top of the list are:

1. Demanding guests typically know what they want. They can verbalize their expectations, so the likelihood of a miss in production is minimal.

2. When there is a production breakdown for whatever reason, these folks typically understand the effort to achieve quality. Their knowledge provides some window of opportunity and good for you and me, ironically there’s a bit of patience under fire. The nuance of patience is a paradox and a great segue for us in this chapter…

Most of us in the service business have experienced an angry customer. And yes, there are steps each of us can take to turn an angry or upset guest into a raging fan. Even better, these action steps can be taught. Here are 4 actionable steps to teach your team:

The Leadership Cookbook: Miick Method© — 6 Musts of a High-Performing Company

The Leadership Cookbook: Miick Method© — 6 Musts of a High-Performing Company

By Rudy Miick, Foodable Industry Expert

“We’re starting a new concept.” 

“We’re growing!”  

“Is there a system to business development we can follow to mitigate risk?”   

The short answer is yes. 

In this chapter, I’ll share our approach at Miick. It works. The steps we take provide both structure and flexibility. And luck has nothing to do with it.

Over the years, our success has come from starting companies that have corporate structure in unit #1. They also have the feeling of a great independent restaurant, full of passion and purpose in unit #50 (or higher). There is a way to get the best of both worlds. That’s the focus of this chapter. Get ready for an overview of a structured approach that works because it holds great flexibility at the same time. We call it the Miick Method©.

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The Leadership Cookbook: The Real Potential of Inventory Management

Strapped for cash? Look on your shelves.

More often than not, I see money sitting in inventory instead of in the bank, available for payroll, repair and maintenance, or imagine: staff training. Another miss? Please don’t pretend that inventory in and of itself is a control system. It’s not. At best, counting inventory provides us nothing more than an asset count. There’s no control whatsoever in taking inventory as a stand-alone endeavor.

On the other hand, actually managing inventory is one of the most potent steps we can take -- with one restaurant or one hundred. In this chapter, we’ll see how managing purchases against a budget, rolling inventory actively, and tracking yield and waste is a strong key to bottom-line performance. From here, we can also teach team members tangible fiscal line-item management.

In this chapter, my focus is to share with you a quick overview and opportunity in Food Inventory Management. Beverage management has strong similarities. And it’s unique enough to deserve its own chapter. So, keep reading!

The Leadership Cookbook: The Most Effective Feedback for Your Employees

Why’d you do that?” All it takes is seven or eight “whys” to completely dismantle most people’s confidence. This is especially the case if the tone of voice or body language of the person asking is threatening in any way.

Don’t do that!” From about the age of three, most of us have heard (and still hear) far more “don’ts” than “do’s.” Study on brain physiology is pretty clear: The average human brain does not really hear the contraction “don’t”; we hear “do.” Ironically, “don’t actions” get us attention, so oftentimes the behavior that gets the “don’t” continues. Is that your intention in coaching to the “don’t?” I doubt it.

“Nice job!” “Great work!” “You look good!” These compliments are nice to get. However, they fail to actually serve as feedback. “Behave like Sarah; she’s a really good worker.” This is a great compliment for Sarah, but for you following Sarah, which of the 55 actions she just performed are the ones that are “really good?” Can Sarah even tell you what she’s doing in action that is seen as good work? Often, the answer is no.

There is an alternative, and that is to provide feedback that is data-based. Take data-based feedback one step further and coach that behavior to the positive! Actually, coach any behavior to the positive. This statement is easy to say. But how can you make it work?

The Leadership Cookbook: Training for 90% Retention!

The latest industry stats reveal that the number one frustration guests have is bad service.  These services issues, whether in food production, quality or customer relations, all boil down to one thing: training -- or the lack thereof.

Training budgets are a given in most industries, but not so for most independent restaurants.  As a result, when these independent restaurants decide they want to invest in employee training, it ends up becoming more expensive because it wasn’t already considered in their budgets. Stop the waste. Make training a priority for the success of your business. Put a training line item on your financial statements.

The next dilemma is the definition of the word “training” itself. Often times, operators who have the “We don’t have much time or money to train, so let’s get to it” mentality provide loose “follow me, follow you” guidance.

This type of training is based on a few assumptions: 1. The trainee has some experience and can apply that knowledge to “our” process. 2. The trainee can retain information from this “Let me tell you what to do” method. 3. The trainee has common sense. 

When all these assumptions are not met, service suffers. But ultimately, it is not at the fault of the trainee if the training provided to them was inefficient and poor.    

And what happens when at the end of training operators realize they hired the wrong person in the first place?